ATLANTA - A Channel 2 Action News investigation found a man arrested for human trafficking in Atlanta was accused of doing the same thing a decade ago. Police charged the man in New Jersey, but he was never indicted.
Channel 2’s Michael Seiden talked to the suspect’s neighbor in New Jersey. He wondered why nothing happened after he helped a badly beaten woman who escaped from the suspect’s basement.
He also interviewed a human trafficking survivor in a separate case who is sharing her story to help other women.
“It was hell for me. I’ve survived hell,” said Jesse Banks about the seven-month long ordeal she endured. It all started at the Greyhound Bus station in downtown Atlanta. She asked a man for drugs and said he injected her, causing her to pass out. Jesse woke up at a motel where he forced her to have sex with men and kept the money.
Jesse said the man beat her. She said the beatings got worse when he realized she was pregnant.
“The last day that I was there he started punching me all over my stomach and then punched me in my head. I was pretty sure I was going to die,” said Jesse.
She told him she was going to get ice for her head. “I went to the ice machine and I dropped the ice bucket and I just ran, and I had that lipstick with me that had the number,” said Jesse.
That number was to a domestic violence hotline that got her a ride to Grady Memorial Hospital where Jesse eventually linked up with 4Sarah. The sex trafficking nonprofit helped her rebuild her life.
4Sarah is the same group that helped a woman get back to New Jersey after police rescued her from an Atlantic Station penthouse. She told police Emmett Murphy planned to sell her body for money.
Murphy owns a music label and goes by Jackpot on Instagram. A police report states they talked on social media for months and he lured her to Atlanta by offering her $3,000 to be in a music video. When police arrested Murphy in February, his attorney Mohammed Lawemba said, "He's guilty of nothing. My client is not guilty of doing anything. He had not committed a crime."
After Seiden reported Murphy’s arrest, a woman who said she was with Murphy for years contacted Seiden. She texted him a picture of Murphy holding an assault rifle. Seiden traveled to New Jersey to interview her, but she backed out.
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Murphy’s New Jersey home is covered in security cameras. His neighbor told us nearly 10 years ago, a badly beaten woman frantically knocked on his door.
“Very bad. Her lip was split. Her face was swollen and bruised,” said Dante Sterling. He called police.
“She basically got attacked and punched and beaten and drug into the basement and like secured to a pole,” said Sterling.
The woman escaped when the person watching her left the room, according to a police report. Officers arrested and charged Murphy. But a grand jury never indicted him, possibly because the victim didn’t testify.
“It’s frequent, a frequent situation that they simply will not or have trouble coming back and testifying against that person,” said GBI Director Vic Reynolds.
Reynolds is a former Cobb County District Attorney and used to prosecute human trafficking cases.
“Drugs along, with violence, threats, intimidation are certainly part of the leverage used against the victims,” said Reynolds.
Channel 2 tried to ask Murphy’s attorney about the New Jersey arrest, but he did not return our phone calls.
Jesse said Murphy’s case doesn’t surprise her. She said it’s important for victims to tell their stories.
“If we don’t put them in jail and we don’t stop this now, they’re just going to continue to do it,” said Jesse.
She wants to stop her pimp. She told the FBI about him. Jesse gave birth to a healthy baby girl who is now 7 months old.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office is still investigating Murphy’s Atlanta case.
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